Monday, October 17, 2011

Baltimore Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Baltimore, MD
Saturday, October 15
Half Marathon #44
State #36
Weather - Chilly at start, Windy, Hot at end

Originally when we booked our travel for the Baltimore Half Marathon a billion years ago, we were intending on attending the expo on Friday night (since there was no race day pick up), which meant we had to be able to get off a plane, rent a car AND not only FIND the expo, but follow the complex directions to obtain the bib from their 41 (yes, you read that right) pages of race instructions. The expo closed at 9, and we took the latest flight we felt comfortable with, which was leaving Denver at 11:45 am to arrive in Baltimore at 5:10 pm. Luckily our super SUPER awesome friends that we were staying with offered to pick our bibs so that we could skip the expo all together.

We got to the airport in Denver with plenty of time. Which was good, since there was some sort of security breach that shut down the entire airport for almost twenty minutes. We didn’t have time to really pick a great lunch, so I ended up having a chicken sandwich and salad for lunch. Meh.

Our flight left on time, and L was exhausted form having been up all night at work and was trying to sleep, so I made EXCELLENT use of my time and got a bunch of homework done. No. Seriously. I read a whole chapter and did TWO written assignments. AND, I still had time to watch part of a movie. Totally productive.

We landed a few minutes early, then grabbed a Starbucks on our way out. Toly (Mr. Awesome) picked us up. Well, there was actually about 10 minutes of confused phone calls while we tried to find each other, but then we were on our way. It’s about a 30-40 minute drive to their house, which gave us some time to catch up. Got settled at the house, then Toly made us a fabulous dinner of pasta, chicken, and veggies. After a few beers, headed to bed around 10:45.

I slept pretty well until about 2 am when I briefly woke up. And then had the most bizarre running related dream ever. Something about L and I getting to the race (which WAS the Baltimore one) and it was a super small field of runners and since the course wasn’t marked very well, the race director suggested that I drive the course so I knew where I was going. I of course didn’t do it until the race started, and by the time I turned around, L was already halfway done with the race. Sulking, I decided NOT to race, and went back to Toly’s house. Then I decided I did want to run but I couldn’t find my race bib. Went BACK to the race and asked the race director if he could just issue me a new number. He suggested I just re-register. Never mind that the race started HOURS earlier. By now it is almost dark outside and I still haven’t started running. No big deal as the race was created by a homeless woman who believes everyone should have the chance to race and that I was still welcome to run. Oh, and I was running a full instead of a half. Unsure how it ended, but I definitely did start running, but was concerned about the course cutoff, racing so late and so far, with yet another race in the morning. Toly had suggested I just not run, and even in my dream I said “I have to run, I came all the way here to race. I don’t want to come back.” LOL. Do not know what this means. Anyway.

Alarm goes off just before 6. Even though the half (stupidly) does not start until 9:45, our friend Rose is running the marathon relay and has to be there earlier, at 8:00. Traffic was pretty light until we got close to the start, and we were pretty glad to have someone to just drop us off. It was chilly and I didn’t want to deal with bag drop and didn’t have room to pack a throw away. Luckily L brought a trash bag, which helped me from freezing. 

Don't you just love her hat?? Wish I'd thought of it :(
We were hanging out near the marathon start with Rose and her relay team when guess who finds me… T from Racing With Babes! She actually spotted L’s skirt and socks and by default saw me. We chatted for a few minutes, and parted ways so we could walk Rose to the shuttle for her relay start. We left her around 8:15 and then had about 1.5 hours to kill until the start. 

Breakfast! Bagel with PB and a teeny tiny pumpkin latte
We started heading that way because our start was parallel to the 9 mile and 13 mile markers of the full marathon. I have never seen elite runners in person and was hoping to catch sight of them before our start. We did!! And wow, it was pretty neat. Saw them at mile 9, and honestly, 20 minutes or so later we saw them again 4 miles later. They are CRAZY FAST.

Elite Men. This is not zoomed, I was really that close. (Mile 9)
Elite Women (Mile 13)
Last minute stop at an INDOOR bathroom, and then a very disorganized starting area for the half. No corrals, but we were supposed to be doing staggered starts by bib number, but there was no signage, so no one really knew what was happening. Wasn’t too annoying, and we got started just a few minutes after gun time.
L and Me
Starting Area
Start Line!
I had looked at the profile the night before, and I knew they were some hills and it LOOKED steep, but then by the numbers, 50 feet or so of incline over a half mile didn’t seem so bad. Well.

Mile 1 is a hill. Probably one of the steepest of the course. And it messed me UP. My legs for the most part have “mostly” recovered from the full on Sunday, but my calves were still SUPER tight. I started decent, but honestly within five minutes I was struggling. L was starting to pull away a bit and my legs HURT. I pulled off to the side and did some quick stretching on the curb. I immediately started to walk just for a minute and my legs STILL hurt. Which is weird because normally walking doesn’t bother me. I ended up walking a good 3-4 minutes and then jogged a bit where L was waiting for me at the top of the hill. Luckily that was pretty much the only point of the race where they got tight enough that I literally could not run.

Just past mile 1
Mile 2ish?

The course is definitely “rolling” and I was having a hard time finding a pace that I could live with. The first water station (which is when we normally walk) wasn’t until the third mile. That’s a pretty long time to be running (slowly) with no water stations. Not to mention that with the late start it was already after 10 am, and we were just getting started. We merged with the marathon runners just before the aid station. They were kept in a separate corral for about a half mile, and then we joined together in the streets.

I only remember seeing this fencing at "merge mile" which was mile 3
When looking at the profile, I knew there was a gradual hill that pretty much lasted the entire distance from mile 4 to mile 9. Again. I didn’t realize that a couple hundred feet gain over that distance was going to be SO HARD. My legs were TIRED. Somewhere around mile 4.5 I spotted Katye (easy to spot with the green socks, long ponytail and her being SUPER tall). 

We talked for a few minutes and then she ducked back to continue the run with a few of her friends. There was a small downhill before the next aid station, which didn’t really help my calves. Have I mentioned my legs were TIRED?

Mile 5-6 pretty much a blur, but I was on the lookout for Rose at the relay exchange. Thanks to her awesome crab hat, we were able to spot her. 

Coming up on mile 6

Mile 6-7 had yet another hill and then one of my favorite sections of the race, the mile-ish around Lake Montebelo. The wind was at our back for the first part and it was flat. It felt good. 

Texting Heather this picture...
Then we hit the water station and came back where we came and we were running INTO the wind. It sucked. By mile 8 I knew that the worst would be over around mile 9. Mile 8-9? HARD. Pretty big uphill and I’ll admit I walked a section. I was just not feeling it. Came to the top of the hill and there was a table with beer… L and I grabbed a cup. It was nice and cool and tasty. Thanks!

Then the race FINALLY got better. Flat with a gradual downhill.

Hard to tell, but these houses were painted in TONS of different colors
Getting ready to cross Rainbow Bridge
I don't remember where this was...
Honestly, mile 12-13 was one of my FAVORITE miles of any “last miles” of a race. The street was lined on both sides with spectators cheering, it was downhill and we FLEW. It was our fastest mile of the race, by almost a minute (aka, the pace I used to be able to run an entire half marathon). Of course the course leveled out the last quarter mile or so and I was barely able to keep moving. 

Mile 13
TIRED. SOOOO happy to cross the line and be done. And immediately bummed that I have another race in the morning to run. But the medal? Awesome. Already ranked as one of my favorites.

Bib #21950
Official Time - 2:24:21
Overall Place - 5915/9161
Gender Place - 3060/5380
Divison Place 569/999
Garmin Time - 2:24:21
Garmin Distance - 13.19 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:57
Mile 1 - 10:49
Mile 2 - 12:11
Mile 3 - 10:46
Mile 4 - 10:43
Mile 5 - 11:26
Mile 6 - 11:32
Mile 7 - 10:46
Mile 8 - 11:04
Mile 9 - 11:04
Mile 10 - 11:11
Mile 11 - 10:34
Mile 12 - 11:02
Mile 13 - 9:18 (!!!!!)
Mile 13.1 - 9:56

We hadn’t really decided how we were going to meet up at the end, so while we were in line for food we were getting a hold of Toly to figure out where we needed to go. The finish line? DISASTER. Insanely crowded, impossible to move around and it was HUGE. Somehow we all managed to find each other, and immediately left as we had reservations for brunch(ish).

Had a bit of a hard time getting there because of all the road closures, and we were 20 minutes late for our reservation, but we were able to get seated with no real issues. L and I had the same 2 items we couldn’t choose between so we each ordered one and shared. Brunch of cinnamon French toast and a turkey club sandwich? DELICIOUS.

After lunch we had a little bit of time so we decided to head back to the inner harbor to walk around. There was a Brazilian navy training ship docked and we walked around on it and got some awesome pictures. Some quick window-shopping and unfortunately it was time to head to the airport.

Pirate Ship!

You might be thinking… hey, she forgot to talk about going somewhere to shower and change. Nope. I didn’t forget. Just didn’t happen. Quick clean up in the airport bathroom with wet wipes and we were as clean as we were going to get. At least I wasn’t still wearing my stinky race clothes. We were a few minutes late departing, but made up the time in air and it was a SHORT flight.  And no, the guy sitting next to me did NOT make any comments and/or gestures about my stink. Thanks for being polite, I know I was ripe.


  1. I wasn't there, obviously, but this race exhausted me with the hills! ;)

    Your race photos are great. You looked so good in all of them, and the ones you took of the course looked really cool! I think Baltimore and all that comes to mind is Hannibal Lecter. He got to be locked up in a cool looking city!

  2. i'm surprised you left out the t mobile incident and the other stuff that went wrong.
    Your race photos are always so good- you look focused and intense!! (i always look miserable) Way to tackle those hills

  3. Congrats on another check on the half marathon!! What an awesome medal, too....maybe need to put that on my bucket list just for the medal! :)

  4. Beer during the race! Love it!!
    Love the inner harbor too, its so pretty!!

  5. I agree with FF and LJ, your race photos are awesome. Those are good enough to purchase!

    Nice run.

  6. Awesome recap! Love the medals. You guys did an awesome job!! Congrats!!

  7. You guys really are amazing!

    Love that medal!

  8. You look so 'hardcore runner' in those pics!!! :)

  9. Then again, you ARE a hardcore runner, so...what else could you look like? ;)

  10. So great to run into you! I have to agree, mile 12 to the finish were my favorite race miles ever!

  11. I love reading your recaps and running vicariously through your posts!!

  12. loved your recap! and the dream. very interesting :):) love the medal too-sounds like a great race to add to the list.

  13. LOVE LOVE LOVE the medal!!! I eyed the race but chickened out because of the hilly course. You did great!!!


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